Madame Zee

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HarperCollins, 2006 - Vancouver Island (B.C.) - 370 pages
3 Reviews

It starts with a strange tightness in her chest, followed by avision. A boy she doesn't recognize. A man falling through ice. And finallythe serene face of Honora, her dead sister. Mabel doesn't know why she hasthese "daydreams." As a young English girl at the dawn of the 20thcentury, all Mabel knows is that she desperately wants to understand thesepowerful, shameful episodes that make her so different.

Immigrating to Canada, Mabel tries to cover her secret life witha veneer of normalcy, yet she is propelled into confronting her gift. Shebecomes Madame Zee, disciple and lover to Brother XII, a charismaticSpiritualist cult leader installed in a Utopian colony on the verdant easternshores of Vancouver Island. Then, in one shattering moment, Mabel must choosebetween her dream of understanding and the reality of truth.

In her re-imagining of Madame Zee--a mysterious historicalcharacter known only for her cruelty and sexual conquests--Pearl Luke gives usa searing and magical novel shot through with profound sensitivity.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LynnB - LibraryThing

Based on real people, this is a novel about Madame Zee, mistress and lieutenant to Canada's cult leader, the Brother, XII. The author became intrigued by Madame Zee after seeing a documentary of the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - laytonwoman3rd - LibraryThing

This is a highly fictionalized account of the life of "Madame Zee", the mistress of and some would say enforcer for, a cult leader known as the Brother, XII. The author freely admits that very little ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

PEARL LUKE has an M.A. in English Literature from the Universityof Calgary. Burning Ground, her first novel, won the 2001 CommonwealthWriters' Prize for Best First Book (Caribbean and Canada Region) and was afinalist for the Georges Bugnet Award, the Chapters/Robertson Davies First NovelAward and the Libris Award. She became interested in Brother XII and hismistress, Mabel Rowbotham (Madame Zee), after watching a documentary about theirextraordinary lives. Pearl Luke lives on Saltspring Island, BC. Visit her online at

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